Maxwell Gets His “Grown and Sexy” on at Chicago Show [Exclusive]
When I think long and hard about the type of artist whose concerts are held in massive arenas, one act that would never come to mind is Maxwell. The Rolling Stones? Of course. Britney Spears? Certainly. Jay-Z? Without a doubt. But, Maxwell?
This past Thursday, the Brooklyn-born singer landed in Chicago for one of the final dates on his BLACKsummers'night Tour, which began nearly five months ago. A personal favorite of mine, going all the way back to my high school days, Maxwell has always played smaller, Unplugged-style shows for private, intimate audiences. Admittedly, I wasn't sure whether that vibe could translate to a venue like the United Center which, at capacity, holds over 23,000 concertgoers. Yet, to my amazement, Maxwell had nary a problem holding the audience's attention..
For two full hours, the Columbia Records recording artist played an entertaining mix of brand new material from his BLACKsummers'night project, spliced in-between hits from his three previous studio albums. Highlights included renditions of "Ascension" (from his '96 debut, Urban Hang Suite), "This Woman's Work" (off his last album, Now), and his most recent #1 single, "Pretty Wings." When Maxwell wasn't belting out the high notes, he danced around the stage, exuding an energy that remained throughout his set.
The older crowd, made up of mostly couples, easily connected with Maxwell, who reminded the audience throughout the evening of their "grown and sexy" nature. Dapperly dressed with a full band behind him, the man of the hour made the ladies (single and otherwise) swoon and scream and assured the fellas that, if they played their cards right, they just might get lucky after the show. Needless to say, I followed the man's advice. Never again will I doubt Maxwell.